Friday, December 23, 2011

Non-ethics in NYS: more of the same

New York state’s new ethics panel has already destroyed its own credibility after a mere two meetings. I reported here about its first introductory meeting, held behind closed doors.

Earlier this week, it had its first working meeting. The Associated Press reported that members of the panel receive $300 for each day they attend meetings, members will be asked to sign non-disclosure' agreements barring public comment, and that its secretive practices will continue.

Then, the board went behind closed doors. The reason? None was given.

This is how ethics oversight works in New York... even under a 'reform' minded governor. Secret meetings with no public announcements. Going behind closed doors without even contriving an excuse. The fact that all this is legal, that this body charged with regulating ethics and transparency is exempt from the Open Meetings Law in the first place, is a damning indictment of what passes for ethics in state government.

Bob over at Planet Albany doesn't appear to be impressed. He quotes someone named David Grandeau: the state ethics body "doesn’t have to abide by Open Meetings Law. Nor does it have to abide by the Freedom of Information Laws... Those laws apply to every other government body, but not the state ethics panel... Tell me again why that is? Tell me how that inspires confidence in government? Tell me how it sets a standard for others to live up to? Tell me how it represents good government?"

The answer is simple. It doesn't.

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